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Two years ago when Visionaries for Neighborhood Centers Inc. was created to bring together individuals with an interest in the work of Neighborhood Centers, Mark and Julia DeWalch stepped forward to take the reins. Under their leadership, participation has grown from a handful of passionate and committed supporters to a group that now numbers nearly 300.

Julia DeWalch makes crafts with members of Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center during Holiday Connections.

Mark DeWalch (far right) at Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center.

"They really took Visionaries from concept to reality," said Marc Levinson, Director of Agency Relations. "They led not only with their personal commitment of time and resources, but they got others excited as well and helped grow the Visionaries Steering Committee. They created a great foundation that will lead to even greater successes in the future."

For the DeWalches, dedication is a family affair – their son Carter recently enlisted his Eagle Scout Troop for a community garden project at the Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center. Over the course of a single day, Visionaries and Eagle Scouts worked shoulder to shoulder constructing raised planting beds and an irrigation system that now sets the standard for what all community gardens can be.

After two years at the helm, Mark and Julia are stepping aside as Heather Simpson will become Steering Committee Chair for 2012. She looks forward to further expanding our reach and getting more individuals and families engaged with Neighborhood Centers and our efforts to build vibrant communities.